University of Wollongong students have felt a financial weight lifted after changes were announced to HECS-Help indexation. 

Following the 2023 indexation spike of 7.1%, tertiary students were preparing for a 4.7% increase this year when looking at the Consumer Price Index.

The Wollongong Undergraduate Student Association (WUSA) has noticed the effect indexation has had on students over the last year. 

WUSA education officer Ryan Chapman said come tax time the financial stress placed on students already earning over the threshold is particularly strenuous. 

In response to the Universities Accord, Education Minister Jason Clare said the cap would provide relief for students while continuing to protect the integrity and value of the HELP student loan.

“This will wipe out around $3 billion in student debt from more than three million Australians,” Mr Clare said.

“The Universities Accord recommended indexing HELP loans to whatever is lower out of CPI and WPI.

“We are doing this, and going further. We will backdate this reform to last year. This will wipe out what happened last year and make sure it never happens again.”

Independent Tertiary Education Council of Australia Chief Executive Troy Williams said while the cap was a step in the right direction, the 20% student loan tax also had to be removed the fully support students. 

“It’s abhorrent that the Australian Government whacks a 20% student loan tax on the debts of people investing in study to achieve their life and career goals,” Mr Williams said

“It’s time for the Australian government to end the student loan tax,”

For more than three million Australians, the cap comes at a critical time during the current cost of living crisis. 

WUSA is demanding a change for students, urging the federal government to use its resources to better support tertiary students.  

“The Federal Government have ample amount of money and instead of throwing millions of dollars into military spending, they should be using it for student education instead,” WUSA education officer Ryan Chapman said.

“Education should be free and that is the demand we make of the Federal Government, they can do all their little touch-ups around HECS but ultimately it will never be enough.”